There are many different types of accommodation you can stay at during your tour. And in most parts of the country you will have plenty of choice:
- tent – This is probably the cheapest form of accommodation but does mean carrying extra stuff. You should consider the availability of sites, especially in peak season, and whether they will allow single night stays. If you are intending to do a spot of guerilla camping behind the nearest sheltered hedge, make sure you check for the presence of cows – and bulls – before pitching!
- B&B – If your budget is tight it is worth organizing this in advance, even if this only means taking a list of the cheaper ones at strategic points on your route, because prices and standards very enormously (and not always proportionately!). I booked ahead and found the cheapest in each area and even then I had a range of £12 – £50 (cheapest was bed only but they stuffed me with home baked muffins before I left). Note that whilst the second B – breakfast – is a very useful thing to the long distance cyclist it’s not much use if you are up and gone before breakfast is served! If you can allow the time I would strongly recommend having a full a breakfast as possible. It miught make you a little sluggish to start but will provide you with a lot of energy for the beginning of the day.
- motels – These are convenient, especially if you are doing a main road route. They’re also good if you like your anonymity and don’t want to spend half an hour at the end of a tiring day chatting to a B&B owner about what you are doing. They tend to be more expensive than B&Bs though.
- hotels – Get you! This is meant to be a challenge you know. I hope you over sleep in that comfortable bed and have to ride double hard to catch up.
- youth hostels – Not as cheap as they used to be. But then, not so full of youths either.
- park bench – The best ones are highly sought after so you may have to plan to arrive early enough to stake your claim, which could curtail your mileage
- gutter – Some thought should be given to this in advance as not all gutters are overly conducive to restful sleep. For instance, you might like to avoid gutters outside pubs and night clubs [unless you really can’t stagger any further from the door]. If it’s raining, anchor yourself down with some ballast otherwise you may wake up some distance from where you started, which can be disorientating. The advantages of gutter accommodation are that: it is cheap, you don’t have to detour from your route to get to it, other guests won’t turn their noses up at your scruffy, sweaty appearance, there are no queues for the toilet and the heater won’t be stuck on all night with the window painted shut. On the down side: security is a risk, there is a chance of being squashed in the night by passing lorries and you might get eaten by foxes. Also, in some areas, spaces are limited, especially at peak times – you try finding a free gutter space in Bristol at 3:00am on a Saturday morning.